Happy Fall everyone!
It doesn't really feel like fall down here in the bayou. It's a little bit cooler in the mornings but that's about it haha. Everything is still green and humid and warm. So crazy!
I miss you all tons but we had a great week this week, and I just wanted to share my President's letter with you all. It's kind of long, sorry, I just have a very full heart. Have a great week and never forget that the Lord loves you always! And I do too!
Love, Sister Chausow
PS: This week at Zone Conference, we listening to an excertp by motivation speaker Andy Andrews called "Burned the Boats." It changed how I look at my mission, my attitude, everything really. It was a big turning point for me. We thenk made paper boats and burned them as a sign of our commitment and I feel free of so much of the baggage that I was carrying around before. You can listen to it if you click on the link, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and clicked on the arrow that is to the right of where it says "Burn the Boats." I tried to attach it to this email but no dice, sorry.
Hello, President! You are awesome, just fYI. I just wanted to remind you, in case you forgot. Thanks for uplifting me at Zone Conference and letting me know that I can do it.
So, I'm going to break my letter into 4 parts this week: unity, obedience, teaching, and hope. I HOPE that's okay :)
Unity: Our companionship unity is still good. But I realize that I got complacent because things were so easy at the beginning. It is so easy to love Sister Alvine, but that doesn't mean I can stop trying to serve her or finding ways to help her have more hope. So I have renewed my commitment to serve my companion every day whether she needs it or not.
Obedience: Guess what!!!?!?! After the "Burn the Boats" thing, I have found that I am starting to be obedient because I WANT to, not because I have to. It is such a good feeling. Sister Wall said something that really hit me. She said something like, "Some people come on their missions and see it as something they have to check off before going on to something more important like marriage or college." Boy, did that hit me in the face! Will you please thank her for giving me a wake up call? Because, sadly, that is totally how I saw my mission up to that point - as something to get through before I went on to more awesome things. But really, is there anything more awesome than a mission? Nope, no way jose, there is not. I know it. This is where I need to be, where I'm supposed to be, and where I WANT to be, and I've decided to live in the now. I burned my boat of seeing my mision as something to get through and with the Savior's help I'm starting to see it as something to cherish, love, and enjoy. I am committed to being a missionary, and I burned lots of boats that were holding me back and keeping me from being fully committed. I'm bummed it took me so long to figure it out, but I'm so so so happy that the Lord blessed me with exactly the revelation I needed when I was ready to receive it.
Teaching: So when we come to Lord, He shows us our weakness, right? Well yesterday, I came to the Lord in fasting and prayer, and He showed me my weakness in teaching. We taught a ton of people yesterday and I'm so thankful that we finally had the opportunity to teach a lot, because 1.) We needed the practice in teaching in unity and with balance,a dwe are getting better at it, hooary! and 2.) I began to see the weaknesses I have in teaching. It hit me like a ton of bricks (I feel like all my epiphanies that I've had this transfers have hit me like a slap or like a train or like bricks, funny how they don't come very gently. Probably because if they were more gentle I wouldn't listen haha). I read PMG Chapter 10 and I began to see all the things I haven't been doing. Not in a depressing way or a negative way, it was just as if the Spirit was saying "Okay, you can teach, good job, now let's try doing it a little more in the Lord's way." And so I'm excited to be better, excited and thankful and humble that the Lordw ould take the time to help me, Johanna Chausow, know how I can imporve as His missionary. Because I am His. And I want so desperately to do what He wants and needs, not what I want or think I need.
Finally, hope- It's the lifeblood of missionaries. Without it, we die (A.K.A. we sleep in, we give up, we aren't diligent, we aren't obedient). And it's vital for member missionaries. Something that I've seen as we've been visiting active members and eating in their homes is a lack of hope. So many of these good members have tried and tried to share the gospel but without success, and so they've lost hope in their own capabilities to do member missionary work. And you know what? I KNOW that that these people can do it, they just have to keep trying. And so my new quest is at every dinner appointment or whenever we are with members, give them hope that they can do missionary work! Even though they might not have baptized any of their friends, or have any referrals to give us, they CAN give a pass along card! They CAN be a shining example of happiness and peace in a tumultous world. They CAN pray daily for opportunities to share the gospel and they CAN have the courage to stand up for truth. They CAN come teaching with us and feel the joy that comes when someone starts to understand and want to the live the gospel. They CAN feed us and help support the Lord's servants physically and spiritually as we spend time in their homes, feeling of the spirit that's there.
Here's an example of what we've been trying to do and the success that we've seen: A strong member of our ward went teaching with us last night, and on the way home, we asked if she had given out a passalong card like we had asked her to - after we ate with their family a few weeks ago we talked about Alma and Amulek, and tried to get them excited about how they can be like Amulek. We invited them to start praying for missionary opportunities and also challeneged them to give out a passalong card. Sister H said she hadn't given out a pass along card yet, but she had been praying daily for missionary opportunities, and recently, her daughter made a new friend at school who isn't a member and she invited her over for a slumber party. To make the friend's mother feel more comfortable, Sister H invited the mother to come over with her daughter to get to know the H family before her daughter slept over at their house. And they really hit it off and just had the best time together, both Sister H and her daughter and her daughter's new friend and her mother. And Sister H said, "I'm so excited to have made a new friend! I know the Gospel will eventually come up in conversation because it's just part of who I am!" My heart burned within me at that point, because I am so excited for this woman and her daughter. These two individuals are amazing member missionaries, even though they were discouraged about doing missionary work when we went to visit them initially. By simply asking them to ask the Lord for help and hope about doing missionary work, they have been granted an amazing opportunity to share the gospel and finally see the fruit of their labors. So so exciting!
Basically, President, every day is hard, but every day is also wonderful. I feel myself getting stronger in ways that I've never thought were possible, and I KNOW that it's the power of the Atonement. I am so thankful for my Savior, who has called me to serve alongside Him. Thank you for all those messages you sent out. I came to the library with a headache, feeling kind of low, but you gave me hope through your words and as I've written this email I've just felt so uplifted. So thank you thank you thank you.
You are amazing.